BC-Business News Digest

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Eds: The weekly personal finance column, "On the Money," will not be sent this week. It will resume on Wednesday, April 16.

a¿¿Adds: IRELAND-BANK SCANDAL, FTC-DATA BROKER COMPLAINTS, CITRUS CROP, HEWLETT-PACKARD-SETTLEMENT, TAX POLL

a¿¿Updates: TOYOTA-RECALL, INTERNET SECURITY THREAT, TRAIN SAFETY, BANK OF AMERICA-CREDIT CARD SETTLEMENT, FASHION-BEAUTY BOXES, LA QUINTA-IPO, PANERA REVAMP-Q&A, FED MINUTES, OIL PRICES, WALL STREET

TOP STORIES:

TOYOTA-RECALL

DETROIT a¿¿ The number of recalled cars in the U.S. is on a record pace, as automakers try to avoid bad publicity and even punishment from a more aggressive government. Toyota announces it is recalling nearly 1.8 million vehicles in the U.S. to fix a spate of problems including air bags that might not inflate. It's part of a worldwide recall of 6.4 million cars and trucks. By Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 440 words, photos. UPCOMING: 900 words by 5:30 p.m.

With:

a¿¿ TOYOTA-RECALL-GLANCE a¿¿ Toyota recalls 6.39 million vehicles globally for safety defects. UPCOMING: 320 words by 5:30 p.m.

INTERNET SECURITY THREAT

SAN FRANCISCO a¿¿ A confounding computer bug called "Heartbleed" is causing major security headaches across the Internet as websites scramble to fix the problem and Web surfers wonder whether they should change their passwords to prevent theft of their email accounts, credit card numbers and other sensitive information. By Michael Liedtke and Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1,100 words.

With:

a¿¿ INTERNET SECURITY THREAT-Q&A a¿¿ Millions of passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information may be at risk as a result of a major breakdown in Internet security revealed earlier this week. Here are some answers to common questions about the "Heartbleed" bug and how to protect yourself against it. SENT: 600 words.

TWITTER-REDESIGN

NEW YORK a¿¿ As Twitter looks to broaden its appeal beyond its 241 million users, the company is introducing a redesign of profile pages that includes bigger photos, more user controls and a distinct resemblance to Facebook. The changes come at a time when Facebook is adding features to its site that are Twitter-like, highlighting the way the two companies are jockeying for people's time and advertisers' dollars. By Barbara Ortutay. SENT: 650 words, photo.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK

NEW YORK a¿¿ Small business owners are in a tax limbo. The economy is improving and profits are up. They're in a better position to buy trucks, computers and machines and other equipment and save on their taxes, but popular deductions that would have saved them tens of thousands of dollars expired at the end of 2013. And while there are moves in Congress to revive some of them, the timing is uncertain. That's making it hard for small businesses to make decisions and some are putting off making big purchases altogether. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 730 words, photo.

PANERA REVAMP-Q&A

NEW YORK a¿¿ Panera CEO Ron Schaich realizes that ordering lunch at his chain can be chaotic, with customers having to fight in a "mosh pit" for their food. The confusion has been a problem for Panera, which has seen its sales growth slow in recent years amid operational challenges. Now the chain is planning to overhaul the ordering system at its roughly 1,500 locations nationwide. The AP spoke with Schaich about the changes. By Candice Choi. SENT: 1,200 words, photo.

APPLE SAMSUNG TRIAL-PHONE ETIQUETTE

SAN JOSE, Calif. a¿¿ So far one of the biggest problems for a federal judge overseeing a patent battle between the world's largest smartphone makers isn't about stolen ideas. It's getting the roomful of smartphone devotees to turn off their devices. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has become increasingly frustrated during the first few days of the trial pitting Apple against Samsung because the many personal Wi-Fi signals interfere with the court's network. The phones also ring, buzz and jingle, and can be used to take photos, a serious violation of court rules. By Martha Mendoza. SENT: 770 words, photo.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

WALL STREET

NEW YORK a¿¿ Once again, it is the Federal Reserve to the stock market's rescue. Major U.S. indexes rise broadly, helped by a report out of the nation's central bank that showed Fed policymakers want to be absolutely certain the U.S. economy has recovered before starting to raise interest rates. SENT: 530 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5:30 p.m.

FED MINUTES

WASHINGTON a¿¿ The Federal Reserve struggled last month over how to convey to investors that it will raise short-term interest rates only slowly once it increases them from record lows. Two weeks before the Fed's regular meeting March 18-19, it held an unusual and previously unannounced videoconference to debate the issue, according to minutes of the meeting. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT 600 words.

TAX POLL

WASHINGTON a¿¿ Struggling to figure out your federal tax return? You're not alone, but you're in the minority. With the tax filing deadline looming next week, a majority of Americans say completing a federal tax return is easy, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. By Stephen Ohlemacher and Jennifer Agiesta. SENT: 800 words, photos.

a¿¿ WHOLESALE INVENTORIES a¿¿ U.S. wholesale businesses increase their stockpiles for an eighth consecutive month in February as their sales rose at the fastest clip since November, good signs for future economic growth. The solid gain in sales should encourage businesses to keep restocking their shelves to meet rising demand. That will mean increased orders to factories and rising production which would boost economic growth. SENT: 470 words.

a¿¿ OIL PRICES a¿¿ The price of oil rises to a five-week high amid unrest in eastern Ukraine, even as a report showed a large rise in U.S. crude oil supplies. SENT: 340 words.

a¿¿ DETROIT BANKRUPTCY a¿¿ The city of Detroit reaches a deal in bankruptcy over $388 million in bonds, mediators announce, a significant agreement that could influence other creditors to try to get a settlement. SENT: 560 words.

INDUSTRY:

CVS-QUITTING TOBACCO

It has long been gospel among retailers that tobacco pulls so much business into stores, with smokers also picking up water, gum or a bag of chips, that dumping it would be a sales killer. However, with pressure from anti-smoking forces growing, tobacco use waning and now a national drugstore chain jettisoning cigarettes for good, is this calculus starting to crack? Major retailers will be paying close attention to the sales numbers after CVS Caremark pulls tobacco from its shelves by October. If the old retail rules governing tobacco have not changed outright, they are at least coming up for review. By Tom Murphy. SENT: 860 words, photo.

MEDICARE MILLIONAIRES

WASHINGTON a¿¿ Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors $3 million or more apiece in 2012. One got nearly $21 million. Those are among the findings of an Associated Press analysis of physician data released by the Obama administration, part of a move to open the books on health care financing. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Serdar Tumgoren. SENT: 1,020 words, photo.

FASHION-BEAUTY BOXES

CHICAGO a¿¿ It's a beauty product fan's dream: a monthly box sent to the door filled with samples of lip glosses, face creams, hair treatments and nail polishes. The trend started a few years ago with companies like Birch Box charging between $10 and $15 a month for subscriptions. But it's recently taken off with dozens of options. There are high-end boxes, fragrance-only boxes, even vegan boxes. By Caryn Rousseau. SENT: 620 words, photos.

WOMEN'S PAY

WASHINGTON a¿¿ Senate Republicans derail a Democratic bill curbing paycheck discrimination against women, an effort that even in defeat Democrats hoped would pay political dividends in this fall's congressional elections. By Alan Fram. SENT: 960 words, photo.

MALAYSIA-AUTOS-CHINA

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia a¿¿ Malaysia awards a manufacturing license to a $618 million venture that will assemble fuel-efficient SUVs for China's Great Wall Motor Co. The license was the first issued under the country's new auto policy unveiled in January, aimed at making Malaysia a regional center for energy efficient vehicles. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 500 words.

TRAVEL-MADE-UP WORDS

NEW YORK a¿¿ Hotels advertise "bleisure" packages. The Thai Tourism Authority is promoting "honeyteering." And a Mississippi TV anchor told advocates of gay equality to "go on gaycation." Whatever you're doing on vacation, chances are there's a made-up word to describe it. (Bleisure is business and leisure; honeyteering is honeymoon and volunteering.) Lexicographers call these blended words portmanteaus. The travel industry doesn't have a monopoly on them a¿¿ think brunch. But they do "come in handy in a business sector where there's often a need to come up with clever marketing spin," said lexicographer Ben Zimmer. By Beth J. Harpaz. SENT: 700 words, photo.

BANK OF AMERICA-CREDIT CARD SETTLEMENT

WASHINGTON a¿¿ Bank of America Corp. is paying $772 million in fines and refunds to settle regulators' accusations that it misled customers who bought extra credit-card products and illegally charged others for credit monitoring and reporting services they didn't receive. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 740 words

a¿¿ MARS-P&G-PET FOOD a¿¿ Mars is buying some of Procter & Gamble's pet food brands for $2.9 billion to help strengthen its pet care business. SENT: 130 words.

a¿¿ BANK OF AMERICA-JOB CUTS a¿¿ Bank of America says it's cutting about 3,000 jobs overseas as part of ongoing reviews of its global operations. The jobs are located in Costa Rica, the Philippines and Mexico. SENT: 90 words.

a¿¿ LA QUINTA-IPO a¿¿ La Quinta's stock rises in the hotel chain's return to the stock market. SENT: 370 words.

a¿¿ OVERHAUL-PRESCRIPTION CLAIMS a¿¿ The nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager says that patients from the health care overhaul's new insurance exchanges have been more likely to use expensive specialty drugs for chronic conditions. SENT: 130 words.

a¿¿ VOLKSWAGEN-STOP SALE a¿¿ Volkswagen tells U.S. dealers to stop selling its most popular cars until transmission fluid leaks can be fixed. SENT: 180 words.

a¿¿ TRAIN SAFETY a¿¿ Federal regulators say they will propose that trains transporting crude oil have at least two-man crews as part of new requirements aimed at preventing parked train cars from coming loose and causing an accident like one in July that killed 47 people. SENT: 620 words.

a¿¿ CITRUS CROP a¿¿ This year's Florida orange crop is approaching the fruit's lowest harvest in 24 years. SENT: 470 words.

a¿¿ FTC-DATA BROKER COMPLAINTS a¿¿ It's tough enough landing a job these days. So imagine if that background check provided to your potential employer wrongly identified you as a possible sex offender. That's what the Federal Trade Commission says happened in a case it's settling with InfoTrack Information Services of Deerfield, Ill. The company provides employment background screening services. SENT: 300 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

BITCOIN-MONEY LAUNDERING

MIAMI a¿¿ Law enforcement agents had set it up: an undercover officer who pretended to have access to hacked credit card data from the Target breach wanted to convert it into the online currency Bitcoin. In Miami, sellers were easy to find. An ongoing criminal case against two men is one of the first state money laundering prosecutions involving Bitcoin, the new e-currency that has many in law enforcement worried about its ability to facilitate crime. Story will also look at other prosecutions around the country. By Curt Anderson. SENT: 800 words, video, photos.

DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-SAMSUNG S5 GALAXY

NEW YORK a¿¿ Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone has plenty of innovations, including water resistance, a heart rate sensor and a fingerprint reader to bypass security passcodes. The screen is larger, and the camera is sharper than what in its predecessor, the S4. Also notable is Samsung's decision to play down or remove some of the S4 features that come across as gimmicks. By Anick Jesdanun. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 5:30 p.m., photos.

a¿¿ HEWLETT-PACKARD-SETTLEMENT a¿¿ Hewlett-Packard paying $108 million to resolve charges employees bribed officials in three countries. SENT: 200 words.

a¿¿ PC SHIPMENTS a¿¿ PC shipments drop for eighth-straight quarter, but rate slows considerably. SENT: 130 words.

a¿¿ FINLAND-TECHNOLOGY PRIZE a¿¿ British-American physicist Stuart Parkin wins the 1 million-euro ($1.3 million) Millennium Technology Prize for discoveries leading to a thousand-fold increase in digital data storage on magnetic disks. SENT: 290 words.

a¿¿ SWITZERLAND-SOLAR IMPULSE a¿¿ A Swiss team planning to complete the first round-the-world solar flight next year has unveiled a new version of the plane they say can remain in the air indefinitely. SENT: 270 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

ATHENS, Greece a¿¿ Greece announces it is returning to international bond markets for the first time in four years amid growing signs of confidence in the country that triggered the European debt crisis. The finance ministry said in a statement it had instructed international banks to issue the five-year euro-denominated bond, and that the sale "is expected to be priced and carried out in the immediate future." By Nicholas Paphitis and Elena Becatoros. SENT: 790 words, photos.

INDIA-ELECTION-MODI'S MODEL

AHMEDABAD, India a¿¿ To some, the man in pole position to be India's next prime minister is a visionary reformer, while to others he's an autocrat in bed with big business cronies. Perhaps nowhere are opinions of Narendra Modi more polarized than in Gujarat, the state he's led for more than decade and that is now touted as a model of prosperity for all of India to emulate. As India, Asia's third-largest economy, holds elections that will gauge the mood of millions of new voters, Modi's Hindu nationalist party is proclaiming the economic success of Gujarat. Bharatiya Janata Party faithful say the state's record shows how to re-energize India's sputtering growth, get much needed infrastructure back on track and streamline the tangled bureaucracy that scares away investment. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

With:

a¿¿ INDIA-ELECTION-INVESTOR HOPES a¿¿ Some of the economic and business issues at stake in the election. SENT: 620 words.

IRELAND-BANK SCANDAL

DUBLIN a¿¿ A judge has dismissed 13 fraud charges against two former executives of Anglo Irish Bank, the reckless lender that drove Ireland to the brink of national bankruptcy, as authorities continue to seek criminal convictions against directors of the ruined company. By Shawn Pogatchnik. SENT: 700 words.

a¿¿ RUSSIA-PUTIN a¿¿ President Vladimir Putin threatens that Russia's state-owned gas company could ask Ukraine to pay for gas in advance, according to Russian state news agencies. SENT: 140 words.

a¿¿ GERMANY-ECONOMY a¿¿ Germany's trade surplus narrows in February as exports declined but imports picked up slightly amid signs that growth in Europe's biggest economy is accelerating. SENT: 150 words, photos.

a¿¿ EUROPE-ENERGY a¿¿ The European Union's executive arm is curbing subsidies for renewable energies to help drive electricity prices down. SENT: 160 words.

a¿¿ JAPAN-RESEARCHER a¿¿ The Japanese scientist accused of falsifying data in a widely heralded stem-cell research paper said the results are valid despite mistakes in their presentation. SENT: 530 words, photos.

a¿¿ JAPAN-US-TRADE a¿¿ U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and a top Japanese official say they still hope to bridge significant differences over opening markets under an ambitious pan-Pacific trade pact. SENT: 260 words, photos.

a¿¿ FRANCE-KAZAKH BANKER a¿¿ A lawyer for a former banker-turned-dissident in Kazakhstan says a French court has overturned a ruling allowing him to be extradited. SENT: 140 words.

a¿¿ IRELAND-BANK SCANDAL a¿¿ Thirteen fraud charges have been dismissed against two former leaders of Anglo Irish Bank. SENT: 150 words.

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CENTERPIECE

Fewer warning bells

Investors are breathing a bit easier as first-quarter earnings season gets underway. Unlike the recent past, they haven't had to absorb a barrage of warnings from companies that will fall short of analysts' expectations. Instead, the bad news is on pace with the historical average. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Intuitive Surgical slide continues

Shares of Intuitive Surgical continued to slide Wednesday and are now down more than 15 percent since hitting a 52-week high last Thursday. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

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